Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,659 (Sat 28 Mar)/Pasquale – Great Scott

Posted by rightback on April 4th, 2009


Solving time: 7:55

The 9 thematic answers (starred below) were all historical figures with whom the epithet ‘Great’ is associated. No Alexander, but there are some famous examples such as Alfred, Catherine and Peter, together with a few that I hadn’t come across before.

I had a very slow start on this, mainly I think because the first five across clues were all thematic (and so lacked a definition), but solved 17ac fairly early and it fell out quickly after that. The top right was the hardest corner for me but overall this was probably easier than an average Saturday prize puzzle.

Music of the Day: Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 (The Great).

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

* 9 HER(O)D
* 10 THE + O + DORIC – I didn’t know the name Theodoric the Great but the wordplay was helpful.
* 11 CAT + H(ERIN)E
* 12 LE(W)IS – I think this might refer to The Great Lewis, Oliver Cromwell’s ship. [No – see comments below.]
* 13 CHARLES; C.H. (= ‘central heating’) + ARLES – I didn’t think I knew anything about Arles but a little research tells me that it was the setting for some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings such as Starry Night Over The Rhone and Café Terrace At Night.
15 TIE CLIP; “TYKE LIP” – nice homophone.
17 G(RE)AT – a ‘Gat’ is a Gatling Gun, but now short for any revolver, rifle or similar weapon. Solving this clue instantly unlocked the theme so I’m surprised it was so straightforward.
18 NOW; NO W[est] – ‘new’ (north, east, west) was a trap here for the unwary.
25 O.C. + TO BE + R[emoved] – the October Revolution of 1917.
26 OFFAL; “AWFUL” – the ‘to some?’ here excuses the homophone; maybe the Queen would pronounce these words similarly?
30 OVERSTUFF; “OVER’S TOUGH” – ‘One’s…’ meaning ‘one [i.e. the solver] has [the answer]…’.
* 31 LOUIS; LO + UIS[t] – this is dodgy, Uist is a group of islands (including North Uist and South Uist) but not an island in itself.
1 CHIC[ken]
2 PROTEASE – pronounced ‘pro-tee-aze’. Very nice anagram.
3 IDLE (hidden) – not sure why ‘here’ was tacked onto the end of this clue.
4 ATKINSON; (IN ON TASK)* – refers to the former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson. If you’ve never studied his special language, known as ‘Ronglish’, I recommend the lessons available here and the quotations here.
6 ADULT + E + RATE RANT – my last entry.
7 CREWEL; “CRUEL” – a worsted yarn used for embroidery and tapestry.
8 [f]ACES
13 C + AGED
* 16 PE[s]TER
19 WOODRUFF; W[ith] + (ODOUR)* + FF – this plant.
* 21,24 ALBERTUS MAGNUS; (SUBALTERN’S A MUG)* – obviously a thematic anagram but I needed more or less all the checking letters. Saint Albert the Great in English, this friar and bishop apparently discovered arsenic.
* 23 [h]ALF RED
26 OBOL; O + rev. of LOB – an old Greek coin.
28 A(X)LE
29 CO[a]ST

26 Responses to “Guardian 24,659 (Sat 28 Mar)/Pasquale – Great Scott”

  1. Ralph G says:

    Thanks, rightback for the blog. Great fun this puzzle, but I hadn’t understood 16d. And thanks for the music link. If you’re ever down that way, Arles ‘vaut la visite’.

  2. Geoff says:

    Enjoyed this one a lot. This type of themed crossword (themed clues lacking defs, no indication which they are) can be rather tricky, but Pasquale helped the solver by providing a very straightforward clue for the keyword GREAT. Excellent clues throughout the puzzle.

    The significance of the ‘Great LEWIS’ had eluded me, although I had the solution.

    The ‘awful’/OFFAL homophone sounds more American than high register RP.

  3. Pasquale says:

    Thanks for feedback, much appreciated. I intended Lewis the Great of Hungary, listed in Brewer’s, as were all the others. Not so very well known, I agree!

  4. smutchin says:

    Thanks for the blog, rightback. I can only echo what has already been said – most enjoyable. Good to see Pasquale on a Saturday, too – although I didn’t finish it, I spent a couple of very happy hours with this, not having the 30-minute restriction of weekday puzzles that’s imposed on me by my commuting time.

    23d was my way in – a nice easy one to kick off. I actually found it more obvious than 17a, and didn’t get GREAT until after I’d got ALFRED. Got all the other theme answers except 21,24 – it just wasn’t happening for me, however long I stared at the letters of the obvious anagram.

    There are some particularly good homophones in this puzzle – I’ve only noticed this recently, but they seem to be a favourite device of Pasquale. I liked 15a especially but 26a is also good – “dodgy” homophones are more interesting than obvious ones, and are welcome as long as they’re tightly clued like this. In fact, overall I’d say the variety of clue types is excellent – the Don’s reputation remains very much intact.

  5. smutchin says:

    Pasquale – I was typing while you posted your comment, but I’ll just add: Thanks! Great way to pass a Saturday morning. Now to go and enjoy today’s offering – don’t even know whose it is yet…

  6. Andrew says:

    Just to echo what others have said: a very enjoyable puzzle, with solid and witty clueing throughout. I hadn’t heard of Lewis the Great, but the simple wordplay made up for that obscurity (I originally thought it might have been a reference to Lewis Hamilton, but “historically” wouldn’t apply).

    I particularly liked 20ac & 27ac for the clever way join between the definition and wordplay is concealed.

  7. MartinR says:

    Yes, a good Saturday puzzle, fun and not too demanding. I fell down on 18a – never did see the NO W reading. LEWIS: got it from the checking, but it rang no bells and Google gave no sensible suggestions in the first 2-3 pages of results for “lewis the great” – I eventually wondered if some ironic reference to Morse’s sidekick was intended! Never thought to reach for Brewer’s.

    As I use only the online version, I’ve noticed the puzzle titles don’t seem to appear anywhere. They are, of course, sometimes helpful in grasping the theme – is there any way to get the puzzle title without buying the paper?

  8. muck says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle GREATly –

    Geoff #2: the fairly easy clue for 17ac GREAT was my way in too
    Andrew #6: I hadn’t heard of Lewis the Great either, but the clueing is ‘solid and witty’ as you say.

  9. muck says:

    Pasquale #3; thanks for a GREAT puzzle, which I managed to complete without recourse to Google or Wiki. I hadn’t thought to look in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, but they are all there!

  10. liz says:

    Really enjoyable puzzle. My way in was also 17ac, but I’m afraid I fell into the trap for the unwary at 18!

  11. Eileen says:

    I’ve been out all day, but agree with all the complimentary comments. I found this hugely enjoyable. Thank you, Pasquale.

    6dn must be ADULTERANT, to fit the clue and to accommodate ‘October’.

  12. Eileen says:

    Pasquale, if you’re still there: if Lewis the Great is the 13th century King of Hungary [I had him as Louis, confirmed by Google, and the Great Lewis as Cromwell’s ship] who is Louis the Great? Le Roi Soleil is the obvious choice but I can’t find him so-called anywhere. NB: this is not a complaint but an interested query: this is what makes crosswords so fascinating.

    And, on the same topic, a confession: I held myself up for a long time on Peter [and I’d actually been looking for him!] because for 28dn I’d put in ALEX[ander] – without fully explaining the wordplay! – and so thought I’d got all the three down Greats! But I did get there in the end. Many thanks again.

  13. Eileen says:

    PS: I meant 14th century!

  14. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, I enjoyed this too. I also, like Eileen, had Alexander earmarked for 28d for a while.

    Failed to get 8d and 12 across. I didn’t know the word LEIS.

  15. Stiofain says:

    A “great” puzzle I also fell into the new/now trap and couldnt find any refs to Lewis The Great but the clue was tight enough to balance the obscurity. I liked the clue for ALFRED.

  16. MartinR says:

    LEWIS / LOUIS: Encyclopedia Britannica has the 14th Century Hungarian only as LOUIS (in English), giving the Hungarian as Lajos Nagy and the Polish as Ludwik Wielki (he was King of Poland too). Wikipedia also has him only as LOUIS. The Oxford Dictionary of World History gives his name only as LOUIS. The Oxford Dictionary of English (NOT the OED) lists him only as LOUIS.

    Safe to say it’s usually LOUIS, not LEWIS. Unfortunately, that would make 7d ?R?U?L, for which there do not seem to be any words that fit!

  17. Paul B says:

    That is unfortunate. If only Inspector Morse had been less patronising.

  18. Stiofain says:

    louie, louie,louie, louie,

  19. muck says:

    MartinR #16: LEWIS/LOUIS. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable has both –

    Lewis I, of Hungary (1326, 1342-2)
    Louis II, de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, Duc d’Enghien (1621-86)
    Louis XIV, called Le Grand Monarque (1638, 1643-1715)

  20. muck says:

    Sorry: Lewis I should have been ‘1326, 1342-82′. I assume dates of birth and reign.

  21. MartinR says:

    Muck #19/20: yep, I know (Pasquale gave his source at #3) but that appears to be the only source using that spelling. It just happens that was the source used in setting, though it made life more difficult for solvers … but then that’s the point, isn’t it! And we’ve all learned a little about a 14th Century Hungarian.

  22. rightback says:

    Lewis/Louis – thanks to all, especially the setter, for the clarification on these two. I never thought to check Brewer’s; maybe some of this was a bit obscure without a preambular reference to the source, but the wordplays were clear enough.

    MartinR – I’m not sure what you mean by ‘puzzle titles’. Did this crossword have a title in the paper?

    Eileen – thanks for the correction to 6dn. I’d lost my copy before I blogged this so was using the blank online version to blog with, hence this error creeping in.

    Stiofain – thanks very much for the music suggestion, that’s a great one. No sound on this machine, sadly, but I’ll have a listen as soon as I can!

  23. MartinR says:

    Rightback: since I don’t see the printed paper, but see this and other blogs for the Saturday prize cryptic with titles (in this case “Great Scott”) I assumed that was the title of the puzzle. Or have I got it a about t, and “Great Scott” was your title for the blog?

  24. rightback says:

    Yes, ‘Great Scott’ was just my title for the blog! Usually I try to use some cringeworthy pun based on the puzzle’s theme or a pertinent clue for the title, though my effort this week wasn’t exactly inspired, I’m afraid.

  25. Brigadier Carruthers says:

    I know no one will read this. I’m working my way through archived Saturdays (I don’t buy The G. on Saturdays. I was intrigued to have worked out all the themed names correctly despite missing the theme. This was because of the utterly daft of thinking from minute 1 that they were linked by 13d. (caged) as opposed to 17a. (great).

    Despite this: 45 minutes, a little slow for me.

    However my second mistake was worse. I hadn’t entered an answer in 26d before checking the solution. So Obol, which wasn’t difficult has to count as not solved.

    PS. because I misconstrued the theme, I thought Peter Woodruff might be a famous criminalk. ha ha..

  26. Brigadier Carruthers says:

    keyboard sticky

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